So as I sit here with a sore arm (my host mom and I just lugged my biggest bag down three flights of stairs) in a mostly empty room and country music jamming on this last night in Angers, it’s time to do some reflecting on my experiences these past four wonderful months. I can now say that I have lived in France and visited Ireland, Spain and Italy ; that I took an entire semester’s worth of classes entirely in French, that I now have friends from all over the world, and that France would be perfect if only they had American-sized coffees. While of course I CANNOT wait to see my family at the airport tomorrow and spend a good three weeks with them, it feels weird to think about going back to CMU because in my head I’d be coming right back here. France has stolen my heart and while by no means am I about to up and move here for good, I am definitely planning on returning when I finish school to work as an English teaching assistant in a middle or high school.
I have learned so much this semester outside of my course work ; I’ve learned how to be a foreigner and what it means to walk into an office and not know if I will be able to communicate to them what I need, to have someone say something to you and not have the slightest idea of what they said. I’ve encountered difficulties with getting money transferred and not knowing how I will get the things I need. But through all of these challenges I have grown so much and have really developed a capacity to empathize with the outsider. It is really hard to integrate yourself into a new culture and a new language but I am so much stronger for it and I have done some really amazing things with my time here.
That being said, I am SO ready to go home for a while. I’ve already requested steak for my first dinner and bbq chicken for my second and waffles for breakfast. My first purchase once back in the States will be a large regular black coffee and yes I might cry when I am back on American soil as I land in Philly and there is an even higher chance that I will when I see my family. So there is that. Also I am so ready to make the most of my next semester at CMU because new perspectives and new lessons hurray!
Queue Southern Comfort Zone by Brad Paisley. This is Paige signing out. Happy holidays friends.